By Amie Canfield
ITHACA – Junior guard Grace Cannon scored with .3 seconds left on the clock to lift the top-seeded Ithaca Bombers to a 73-71 victory over second-seeded Vassar College in the Liberty League Women’s Basketball Championship game on Sunday at the Ben Light Gym on the campus of Ithaca College.
With the victory, the Bombers improve to 22-5 and earn the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The loss moves the Brewers to 19-8 on the season.
Trailing 63-56 heading into the final quarter of play, the Brewers continued to trail until the 50 second mark as senior captain Jackie Cenan drained a layup inside to make it a one-point (69-68) game.
The Bombers countered at the 36 second mark as VC freshman guard Eliza Srinivasan was charged with a foul, sending senior guard KellyAnne O’Reilly to the line as she made both shots from the charity stripe for the three-point advantage (71-68).
With 27 seconds on the clock, sophomore guard Sarah Gillooly went up for a shot, but was blocked by senior forward Cassidy O’Malley (Summit, NJ). The loose ball came out to senior captain Sophie Nick, who went inside for the layup, was fouled, and drained the free throw to make it a 71-71 game with 23 seconds to play.
Following an Ithaca timeout to advance the ball, the Bombers attempted the in-bound twice before it finally went into play. IC charged into the lane as the ball was passed to Cannon (Bloomfield, NJ) on the near side, just inside the arch. She posted up for the jumper, which fell after several bounces on the rim to seal the Bombers victory.
The Bombers were led by O’Malley, who recorded 20 points, also becoming the second-leading scorer in Ithaca basketball history. She added five rebounds, four assists and game-high’s in blocks with six and steals with four. O’Reilly added 16 points with four caroms, while Cannon had 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Vassar, which went 90.0% (9-10) from the free throw line, saw Cenan post a game-high 25 points, adding a game-best six rebounds and a steal. Nick dropped in a double-double of 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds with an assist and a block. Senior captain Isa Peczuh boasted a team-best two blocks with a steal, five rebounds and four points.